THE first six months of this year has seen an average of 60 tonnes of recyclable plastic waste sent to two recycling centres operated by KDEB Waste Management (KDEBWM) in Selangor.
This is more than twice what it used to receive pre-pandemic.
Some 8,941 tonnes of recyclable plastic waste were collected and sent to two of its recycling centres between January and June this year.
In comparison, about 4,521 tonnes of waste were collected throughout 2020 and 7,536 tonnes in 2019.
The significantly lower figure for 2020 was due to the movement control order where recycling centres were not allowed to operate.
KDEBWM managing director Ramli Mohd Tahir said although there were no exact numbers for plastic wastes being disposed of in landfills, KDEBWM had observed an upward trend.
“Our primary activities are collecting and transporting waste to the landfill.
“However, we have seen that plastic wastes such as food containers and packaging materials from online shopping have increased, especially in urban areas.
“By looking at the data of recyclable plastic waste collected and sent to our recycling centres in Klang from 2019 to June 2021, the quantity is increasing every year,” he told StarMetro.
Plastic bottles, bags and food containers make up the bulk of items sent to the recycling facilities.
Ramli said the data was only from two recycling centres operated by KDEBWM.
The recycling centres are located in Bandar Bukit Puchong in Puchong and Meru in Klang.
After being deposited at the centres, the wastes including aluminium, paper and scrap metal are sorted by type before being compacted into bales.
The bales are then sold to ready buyers who process the materials into other by-products.
“Materials that are not sent to our recycling centres end up in landfills,” said Ramli.
“There are currently three landfills operating in Selangor, namely Jeram, Tanjung Dua Belas and Bukit Tagar.
“They have at most another 10 years before they reach full capacity.
“With over six million people living in Selangor, there is greater urgency to manage our wastes.”
He said in an ideal situation, there would be at least one recycling facility in each municipality or city.
“Currently, we manage the waste for 12 local authorities in Selangor.
“Recyclable waste from only a few areas around the existing facilities are sent for processing while the rest end up in landfills.
“We hope to set up two or three new recycling facilities in the next two years,” he said.